Apple wants plaintiffs’ lawyers in iPhone throttling case kicked out

Via Reuters:

Apple Inc on Tuesday moved to sanction lawyers at Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy representing consumers who said the devicemaker’s software updates quietly slowed down older iPhone models to mislead them into buying new ones, saying they improperly disclosed confidential documents.

Apple argued in a motion filed in federal court in San Jose, California that the firm should be barred from serving as co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs after two of its lawyers discussed ‘highly confidential’ company documents at a public hearing in March.

Read the full story via WestlawNext Practitioner Insights here.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, it was Apple’s lack of communication that was the problem here. If Apple had clearly explained what was going on in the software, we’d have known to recommend a battery replacement when users complained their older iPhones were getting “slow.” As it was, we were pretty much left to assume that the processor/RAM wasn’t up to par with demands of newer iOS releases and we’d naturally recommend getting a new iPhone.

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Apple’s reduced rate battery replacement program ends December 15th – December 3, 2018
Apple clarifies policy on $29 battery replacements: All iPhone 6 and later devices are eligible – January 2, 2018
Australian lawyers to launch largest-ever class action against Apple over iPhone ‘batterygate’ – December 29, 2017
The most annoying things about Apple’s iPhone ‘batterygate’ apology – December 29, 2017
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15 class action lawsuits filed against Apple for throttling iPhones with aging batteries – December 29, 2017
Apple apologizes for poor communication about iPhone batteries and performance; slashes battery replacement cost from $79 to $29 – December 28, 2017
No, Apple’s throttling of iPhones with aging batteries is not planned obsolescence – December 28, 2017
Apple execs face jail in France after lawsuit over slowing down iPhones – December 28, 2017
Korea seeks explanation from Apple for slowing down devices without warning – December 28, 2017
Apple now facing 8 lawsuits over throttling processors in iPhones with aging batteries – December 27, 2017
Apple tarnished their brand with clandestine iPhone battery management and processor throttling – December 27, 2017
Should Apple replace aging iPhone batteries for free instead of throttling processor speed? – December 21, 2017
Apple confirms iPhones with older batteries will take hits in performance – December 20, 2017
iPhone performance and battery age – December 18, 2017
Apple met with Chinese regulators to discuss iPhone 6s unexpected shutdowns – February 10, 2017
Rumor: Apple may extend iPhone 6s battery replacement program to iPhone 6 – January 17, 2017
A message from Apple about 
iPhone and unexpected shutdowns – December 2, 2016
Apple offers free battery replacement for ‘very small number’ of iPhone 6s units with unexpected shutdown issue – November 21, 2016


  1. MDN: “…it was Apple’s lack of communication that was the problem…”

    The assertion here (and it’s not a crazy one) is that it was a CHOICE of communication, not a lack.

    MDN: “If Apple had clearly explained what was going on in the software…”

    Not only did they not “clearly” explain it, they completely failed to disclose it.

    MDN: “…we were pretty much left to assume that the processor/RAM wasn’t up to par…and we’d naturally recommend getting a new iPhone.”

    Which would be bad enough if true, but instead, when customers brought their phones to Apple for service, they were not told about the throttling and were told that their phones were not up to snuff and encouraged to buy a new phone as a remedy.

    MDN, please do not try to paper over this or excuse it. This was not an accident. It was as intentionally deceptive as Nest’s undisclosed microphone. If you believe Apple “poorly communicated” this (to their massive profit), then you must also believe that there was “an oversight” in Nest’s product documentation.

    Stop it. Apple F’ed its customers and is (and should) pay the price.

    1. So much BS on this, Apple throttled to prevent serious damage and safety precautions, lose-lose proposition trying to convince ambulance chasers and know-it-alls, including MDN.

      1. To prevent serious damage their poor design made possible!
        And still they didn’t inform. The battery, due to size restrictions could not support the claimed performance in the long term.

        Ever wonder why that model year’s iPad did not have the problem?

      2. Apple’s reason for implementing the behavior is irrelevant. An engineer had a good idea about how to solve an engineering problem. Nice!

        Apple’s actions after implementing it ARE relevant.
        – Don’t disclose the addition of throttling behavior in release notes for the product.
        – Don’t disclose the known reason & known $100 remedy for the unwanted behavior when the phone is presented for service.
        – DO push a new $800 device purchase as a remedy for the unwanted behavior when the phone is presented for service.

      3. Apple did wrong.
        They may have had good engineering intentions, and may (?) even have had good user interface intentions (don’t confuse people by explaining throttling). But, they HAD to know that people were buying new iPhones because the old ones seemed slow. I’ve seen some incompetent actions by Apple, but there’s no way they weren’t analyzing why people bought new phones.
        So, the initial actions may have been based on doing what they thought was best for customers, but at some point they had to have realized the outcome is that people were spending more money buying new phones sooner than they would have otherwise. That’s a deceptive trade practice. Maybe a court won’t make them pay for it, but they definitely deserve a hit to their reputation.

        The best way to keep Apple as one of the more customer-friendly corporations is to judge them harshly when they do wrong. I want to push them to do better, since I like their products.

        1. Agreed, though I tend not to give them the benefit of the doubt in terms of “at some point they had to have realized…” A decision was made at the get-go not to disclose this, and there is only one reason to make that decision.

          Generously, let’s say it wasn’t a decision that was presented to / signed off on by the CEO, and if not, then the responsible parties must be held accountable by Apple (presumably sent walking) and Apple Inc., nonetheless must be held to the fire for letting it happen.

          If Cook did OK it, then the board must do their duty.

          1. I just want to add to what you said. The problem is even deeper. It’s a matter of Apple’s attitude. They behave as if they are still the owner and the one in charge of the device, the IT department.

            If they sold soup, they would control whether you can salt it, and with who’s salt. This goes back to Jobs.

            1. I think the engineers who built the slow-down feature thought they were doing something that would benefit the user. Better to run slow than crash the phone completely. I’ve had both experiences with an iPhone 6S back in the day. Guess which was more disruptive? And, the user-friendly people probably thought “bothering the user with a dialog about this might be disruptive or confusing.”
              Where the problem lies is that this wasn’t documented ANYWHERE public. If it was, people who found the slow-down irritating could have found out WHY and then decided whether to get a battery replacement or go further and buy a new phone. I still think it’s possible that they didn’t deliberately do this to fool people into buying new phones. If it WAS deliberate, that might be legally actionable.

            2. The engineers are not at fault per se. Thin comes with restrictions, as you see. Over-stressed batteries, in large part due to size constraints, at a given performance level age sooner.

              So they didn’t/couldn’t stand up to Ives or whoever. Also, the engineers didn’t decide to deceive, the executives did.

  2. Apple documentation has been going downhill fast for a long time. Ios is a mess of inconsistency, the user is expected to use Google to find answers on the web because apps don’t have help menus and Apple’s online help is nothing but press releases and a forum.

    the same bad management is creeping into the Mac. If Apple cannot be forthright about batteries, why would anyone trust them with life critical stuff like medical or cars? I truly fear that the user focu, support, quality we used to enjoy is gone.

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